Security Deposit – Treble Damages and Legal Fees

In an ongoing case,  a management company prepared a check to a tenant who had recently vacated an apartment.  The inspection of the unit disclosed no damages or defects.  An assistant property manager mailed several such checks, but one of the security deposit checks was not sent. It was later discovered that the check in question had become attached to another file.  The assistant realized the error approximately 1 week after the check was to be mailed and promptly mailed it to the former tenant.  The check arrived 5 days after the 30 day deadline.  The tenant hired an attorney who demanded 3x the security deposit plus legal fees due to the late receipt.  Management company responded with an apology and an offer of 2 months which was rejected.  The case will likely go to trial, the issue being whether the legislature intended for inadvertent mistakes on the part of employees of a landlord to require treble damages and legal fees.

Land Court – Adverse Possession Claim

A commercial client barred a neighbor from renting parking spaces on its property.  The neighbor alleged ownership due to “adverse possession” claiming she had maintained sole control over the parking area in question for a period of 20 years.  The case was tried before the Land Court.  Due to careful preparation and detailed discovery, it was shown that the plaintiff could not have exercised control over the client’s parking area and a verdict for the client was issued.

Personal Injury – Serious Head Trauma

Our client was riding a motorcycle in a rural road in W. Massachusetts when he was attacked by a large German Shepard dog.  The attack caused the client to fall from his motorcycle and in so doing, his ankle and leg were broken.  In addition  the fall resulted in serious head trauma.    A lawsuit was filed against the owner of the dog and the person with whom the owner left the animal unattended despite clear instructions to keep the dog in its designated enclosure or on a leash.  After lengthy negotiations with the insurers for both the dog owner and dog caretaker,  a six significant settlement ( in six figures) was reached on behalf of the client.

Brookline Zoning Board of Appeals – Deeded Parking Spaces

Our clients were aggrieved by a decision of the local Zoning Board of Appeals, granting a developer the right to relocate their previously deeded parking spaces.  An appeal was filed with the Land Court.  After negotiations, the developer granted the clients indoor garage spaces, in return for their ceding their previously deeded outdoor parking spaces.

Probate Court – Sibling brings suit against executor

Our client was named by his last surviving parent as the executor of her estate.  Part of his duties as executor was to sell the family home and dispose of valuable antiques and art work.   One of his siblings brought suit alleging that her brother the executor sold their mom’s house for less than fair value and failed to properly account for the personal property (including art work) in the home.  The case went to trial in the local Probate Court.  Due to detailed discovery, including the deposition of the plaintiff, numerous interviews with other siblings, the real estate broker who listed and marketed the property and the attorney who guided the executor through the probate court process, the plaintiff’s allegations were proven to be without merit. The Court rendered a verdict in favor of the defendant.